A new Season

Next month will bring a time of change for us. I am going back to school (although I must say I am nervous as HECK and have considered chickening out). I've accepted awards and national grants so I have NO reason to not do it at this point, except for my nerves. Why the heck is school so nerve wracking?! Regardless, a new month, a new year...it's going to be an interesting one folks, THAT'S for sure. My "little" sister is getting married in June and my "littl-er" sister is graduating high school. I mean really...it's a crazy time. But I'm ever so grateful for the support and love from family and friends. Taking lemons and making lemonade. That's what it feels like for sure.
Here's to a new year, a new month and new adventures. Here's to YOU.


Do You Want to Build a Snowman?

Darn song has been stuck in my head since the snow started falling this morning! We haven't even watched the movie a ridiculous amount of times, but it's just so catchy. Ahhh well it could be worse. We had our first snowfall this year and I think it's safe to say Eli is just as in love with the snow as I am. I feel like a giddy little girl when the white stuff starts falling from the sky.

Sometimes even when life is hectic it's best to just slow down and go for a quick walk.


Snow is simply the best at making everything seem spic and span perfect. I just love it. Or maybe the OCD part of me loves it. ha!

What's your favorite season?
ana o.
P.S. No, we didn't build a snowman.


Lots of Love

We've been dealing with teething tummy issues over here for almost a week. Also known as, I put everything in my mouth whether it's good for me or not because my gums hurt. Saturday night was a four wake-up night, not fun. Last night Eli woke up twice and then the DOG had tummy issues so he needed to be let out a few times as well. Where is the sleep folks?? Needless to say my temper has been short & patience thin. Is there a way to combat this when we are so exhausted? 
Motherhood is challenging and hard, no doubt about it. You want to make sure you love enough, praise enough, hug enough & just be enough in a technology driven, fast paced & nonstop life. You want to make sure your not making mistakes, but mistakes are inevitable right? So after your short with that little person (or persons) in your life you feel bad & turn around on your knees and hug them. In my opinion one of the best things I can do for my child is ask for forgiveness from them, no matter how young they are or whether they can understand it. I want him to be quick to forgive and to apologize for mistakes he's made in the future, so I will model that for him now.
We often wonder the common phrase,
"Where did they learn that from?"
Well when they are so young the influences around them from friends are little compared to how much they look up to us as parents. Is he having problems throwing things? Have I modeled such abrupt behavior or given him a reason to be frustrated? Most likely. I'm not perfect and I never will be, I'm okay with that fact. But how can we raise our kids to be slow to anger and quick to forgive if we are not modeling that ourselves? It starts at home.

It starts with us. 
Before we teach them to put one foot forward, I feel like we need to teach them to take a step back to just be. Being a go getter is great, at the right time. But I also want to teach him to remember to take your time. Sometimes it's easier said then done, I mean who wants to eat the chocolate chip cookie slow?! Moments are fleeting and it's okay to leave distractions at home to focus. You don't NEED to count that mile you walked with your child today on your phone, you can input it later on. 
Maybe I'm at a point in my life where too much feels overwhelming. I've felt the need to purge different things in my life. Excessive clothes, books, shoes, kitchenware and it feels REALLY good. I want to teach my son to live simply and at the same time to live intentionally. I may be the worst model for this myself, but I'm trying. That's what counts, right?
So today I pray for patience, calmness, intentional-ness & love. Lots of love because that's what really matters.


On Life.

I love our life. I am SO grateful for it honestly.
I love that Josh is fulfilling his doctorate dreams by being in school to be an ER doctor, I am so grateful for being able to be home with Eli and watch him grow and develop into his own little person.
I love going on walks with him during the day and having our little lunch dates just the two of us. I've been finding beauty in the simple things and trying to find thankfulness in everything apart of our lives. Sometimes it's definitely tough but I realize if I have a positive attitude then so does the rest of my family.

"If mama ain't happy, then nobody happy." 

This is SUCH a true statement and a good reminder for me to watch my attitude around the house.

 We live a loving, but a bit of a hectic life and I think lately it's been wearing on Eli. This is so hard to see. This morning for example he woke up at 3:45am and didn't go back down until 6 am. Josh woke up to get ready for work and we took Eli out of his room and he shared some breakfast with Josh. While Josh was getting ready to leave Eli wouldn't let him go. He walked out into the garage with Josh waving good bye at the same time as trying to get in the car with him. Heart breaking! I think it hurt Josh more then anything because he had to leave and knew he wouldn't be coming back until late because of class.

1 Corinthians 16:14 Do everything in love. Let all that you do be done in love. Let all that you do be done in love. Let all your things be done with charity.
While it may be hard on Josh to fulfill his dream of being a doctor, I know he enjoys it (well, maybe not the road to get there) because it is IN love he's doing it for himself, for his family and most importantly I know he is going to glorify God with his career. A long and tedious road, but it will all be worth it.

There is not another person in this world who loves Eli more then his daddy. The bond they share is amazing. While I tend to get jealous of Josh because his patience for Eli easily outweigh's mine (he doesn't spend all day with him), I am so very appreciative for their bond. It's a bond he can't share with anyone but his daddy and I absolutely love it.

Eli, we love you more then you will ever know. Thank you for being you. Thank you for showing us innocence and happiness through the eyes of a child. Thank you for showing us how to be kiddos again. We love you so much and we can't wait to see you grow up.




Over the past several months since my blogging pause I have actually come back and started several posts, mainly about what's been going on in our lives. Let me tell you A LOT has happened, but at the same time I think it's all led up to this point as well. Here's a quick synapsis:
  • Traveled to California for my best friends wedding.
  • Celebrated five years of marriage in Carmel, Santa Cruz & Monterey.
  • Dealt with a freak house infestation of flies (no really, the bug people are flaberghasted on the whole situation) TWICE since July/August time.
  • Got in a car accident.
  • My 25th birthday. 
  • Applied to BSU to finish my bachelors.
  • Eli is now 20 months. 
Whew! It's been an eventful past few months if I say so. Bugs, accidents, travel & celebrations, I feel as if writing a post about it all doesn't even begin to explain it. But honestly it all doesn't matter. Sure I am SO grateful our car accident wasn't worse and that Eli is still rear facing in the car (and will be for a LONG time), but honestly God has shown me a lot during the tougher times of the past few months.
He has shown me things are mattering less and less to me and how to plan ahead a lot better. For instance we have a large family to which we purchase Christmas gifts for, this year we started Christmas shopping in June. Yes, June. It has been SO much less stressful for us already to have the majority of the Christmas shopping done this year. On top of Christmas are quite a few birthday's in our families (and some big birthdays this year), so planning things has proven to be more cost effective as well. I would say between Christmas and birthdays we have about 75% of the gifts purchased, which has been amazing.

All of these life lessons lately have been from God showing me how grateful I am to be in the spot in my life. Our child is healthy & happy. We have steady income coming in. I may not have my degree finished, but I am SO grateful to be doing what I am at home with Eli. I get to be his mom and not worry about someone else parenting him. Josh doesn't have to worry from work about Eli or myself because we are safe and Eli is taken care of to the best of our abilities. We are ever so grateful for the endless blessings in our life.

Philippians 4:11
Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.

I struggled for a LONG time about not being happy being a stay at home mom. I was not happy and truly nothing could making me happy about it. Don't get me wrong, I was grateful for it but I wasn't happy. I've had this desire to finish my degree for a long time, but I didn't know what to finish it WITH. I have my associates degree, but I desire for my bachelors like no other. So last month I did it. I applied for schooling. To be honest with you I still have no clue what I really am going to finish my degree with, but I'm okay with that. I've taken the next step to actually finish and it will take me longer then normal, but that's okay as well. God didn't put this desire in my heart to finish it for no reason. I know He has a purpose for me and for that specific degree (whatever it may be), but as of right now I am praying a lot harder about that purpose and that He leads me to finish it with what He wants. 
That's where I am right now.

P.S. Eli has grown an inch and a half in two months. What?!



So...I've started vlogging on YouTube. It's been a lot of fun.
Check it out!


Travel Post One: D.C. with Friends

So I've been home for a couple weeks now and it's been glorious. The first week home we literally did nothing. I didn't plan anything nor did I want to. It was amazing. You really don't realize how awesome just being at home is until you've been gone for months! Now we are back in our routine and life, so I'm finally trying to cull through the endless (so it seems) amount of photos from our trips.

While we were out in D.C. we met with our good friends Becky, Keith and their little one Caleb. We left Vegas when she was pregnant with Caleb and hadn't seen them in almost two years! It was awesome discovering and exploring D.C. with them. Especially knowing we could be stationed out there in a couple years.

Oh and it was nice being able to baby wrangle together. Our boys got along so well and were definitley two peas in a pod. They are three months apart and so funny together.

Becky hadn't been to the American Art Smithsonian so we headed that way and discovered they ahve the most amazing covered tropical oasis in the center. It's enclosed like a greenhouse and it smelled AMAZING. So relaxing and soothing. Just what we needed among the crazy streets of D.C.

Being a military family has it's pro's and con's. But a definitely pro is being able to visit the 'family' you make all over the world. We have so many awesome friends and 'families' it's great to see their lives in the moment and just 'be' with them.

There's a huge possibility we will get stationed out there and it's a little comforting knowing we already have good friends there. It makes a big move like that much less scary. Maybe that's another reason God placed them over there, so they could explore first to show us awesome places when we get there!


Plus we are both photography obsessed, so really...it works out in our favor!



I guess you would call this a follow up to my post yesterday 'Broke'. I went back today where I saw the gentleman with kidney failure and he wasn't there. That didn't deter me from picking up a rain jacket, a liter of water & some snacks for him though. When I see him again I hope to quickly pick up a hot meal for him and give him our gifts. Today at the same intersection I did see another gentleman limping around with a sign. I couldn't read too much of his sign because of traffic but I quickly ran over to jack in the box (not the healthiest, I know) and bought him a sandwich, a drink and fruit. Best I could do with a sleeping babe in the car. It cost me around six dollars. SIX dollars.
Our interaction was short and direct;
"Sir, are you hungry?
Would you like a meal?
-Yes. Is this water?
No, it's juice.
-Okay that's good. Thank you. God bless you."

He didn't share his life or story. I didn't ask. Frankly it's not my place. I've passed by a lot of homeless people growing up in the various places I've been and lived. I've judged. I've shaken my head. I've even pointed fingers. For there is never room to judge another. I've heard remarks from people I know, "Some of 'them' don't even want a job because they make enough panhandling."
You may be right and I've certainly thought that way as well, but you know what? If Jesus pulls at my heart strings to buy someone a meal, I'm going to. I'm done passing by. I'm done thinking negative thoughts about a person I've never met.

Was I afraid today? Sure. Satan likes to push fear in my mind thinking the worst of people and of the what 'could' happens. I was at a very busy intersection during the day brain! If anything were to happen, I'm sure I'd be protected by the various passing people. Regardless, nothing happened and I was able to give someone in need a meal. Maybe even his only meal. I don't know though. I'd like to think I did something great, but really I'm just hoping he gets to tomorrow. The only thing left to do for him is pray.

Pray for a job. Pray for hope. Pray for Jesus' love. Pray for a future. Pray Jesus holds him close.

I am blessed beyond measure and frankly I've been VERY selfish lately. Maybe that's why Jesus has been convicting me to share. He's also been showing me how to be thankful. Maybe this is my perception but I feel like thankfulness seems to come by once a year around a certain turkey day. The whole month on social media is centered about day 'x' of thankfulness. This isn't a BAD thing. It's a good thing we are taking a moment of our day to think about everything we are thankful for. But I do think it's a bad thing when it's forgotten the rest of the eleven months of the year. EVERYDAY should be a day to give thanks. Everyday we should remember how awesomely blessed we are. Another goal I have for my life is to stop thinking about the 'I want' or 'I need' and think about the 'I'm thankful for'.

Life isn't fun if your constantly judging another. I'm not perfect, but I'm trying to be better. I'm not sharing this to show you some 'I'm greater then thou' attitude. I share my heart because I communicate better in writing. Maybe you'll get to know me better, maybe I'll encourage you, maybe I'm just a good read today. I don't know what I am for you today, but I know I am happy today. I am encouraged and thankful Jesus showed me how to love on another person. That's all.

-ana O.



"My kidneys failed and now I'm broke living in my van. Even a penny helps. -thanks."

The words on this sign continue to echo in my head even a couple hours after reading it and driving past the gentleman with the hoodie and hat on to protect himself from the rain.
I've lived in the Seattle area, in Las Vegas and currently living in Boise. I've seen a lot of homeless signs and people. Some nicely dressed, some in rags, some on drugs and even some who may have needed medication, yet not one has impacted my day like this gentleman. I think part of it is because I've seen first hand the brokenness in our health care system and government. Another part of it is because I've felt convicted to help in a way I couldn't figure out until now. I could go on and talk about our broken health care system but that would only go so far. Instead I think I'll talk about my conviction.
Tomorrow I'm going to hopefully return to this man and bring him a hot meal and a rain jacket. I don't care about the cost, because really I have enough and he is clearly in need. Jesus was a light in the darkness, He helped the hungry, the prostitutes and so many more people we tend to stay away from.
Because He knew they needed the most love. He knew they needed hope. The unloved needed love and the hopeless needed hope so Jesus gave it to them. The man I saw tonight is asking for a penny, can you spare him your change? We've all come on hard times, unexpected expenses and death. Life is hard. My life isn't harder then yours and yours isn't harder then mine, it's all just HARD.
It's ironic, as I'm driving away the lyrics from Avicii's "Wake me up" started playing. Specifically,
"I tried carrying the weight of the world
But I only have two hands"

Such a short excerpt from the song, but it was so powerful in my moment of conviction. I know I can't fix this man's life. I know it's impossible to do, but tomorrow I hope I can brighten his day and show him it's okay. I hope to be Jesus to Him. But my ultimate goal is to give him hope. I don't want to be another car driving past at the intersection, I want to turn around and show him love.

I think my goal for myself is to turn around more often. I know I can't do much, but I can keep $5 gift cards in my car and water bottles to pass out when I see someone in need. Maybe rather then looking for change in our 'system' I'll try to make a difference and BE the change. That's my goal for myself. Not for this year, but for always.

-ana O.


Toddler Travel

We did it. Well I did it. Or is it Eli did it? Whatever. Eli AND I traveled across country by ourselves. Literally from one coast to another, with a stop each time. Making for an exhausted momma, a cranky baby/toddler and a whole lot of stuff in tow. But it was ALL worth it. Would I do it again, you ask? Yep. Once a month if I could! But I may be crazy. Here's my list of travel tips and tricks:

1. Be prepared for meltdowns: Your traveling with a babe people. Traveling as an adult is exhausting enough, but being a child and not knowing where you are, what is going on and your routine completely thrown off! You wonder how people ever give you weird looks, put yourself in the kids shoes. Perspective is a wonderful thing. But yes, be prepared for tears. They are GOING to happen, whether a lot or just a little, it's inevitable. So tell yourself, 'it's okay' and take a breath to keep going.

2. Buy your child a plane ticket: Yes it is expensive. Yes kids two and under are free. No this is NOT safe practice. In fact, many kiddos have been thrown out of their mothers arms during take off, landing and even random turbulence. Babies have been hurt (news articles here & here & here). Want to know why the FAA doesn't require you to buy your babe a ticket? Money. They know families wouldn't travel as much if they paid for all their kids. Money rules all (duh). But in all honesty, buying Eli a ticket was probably the smartest thing we did. He sat in his car seat and was MUCH happier. He was familiar with his seat and that was comforting. Cross country with a toddler is HARD. Cross country with a toddler by yourself is even HARDER. I was able to set him down and he slept in his seat. I even snoozed a little myself.
Plus checking your car seat makes it have 'unknown' history, which means a) it's not guaranteed to save your child's life in the event of an accident and b) you don't know how it's been handled. I've seen oxygen machines destroyed by the luggage people. Don't risk your child's life folks.

3. Snacks: You can't bring water in containers through security but you CAN bring snacks. I purchased a whole bunch of the pureed food pouches (which are less messy and MUCH easier then a spoon and jar) which literally saved us multiple times. I also had some fruit and crackers. He was happier and so was I. A lot of airlines don't provide much more then water and pretzels these days, so our bellies were happier and I was also at ease that Eli wasn't eating a whole bunch of crap on our trip.

4. GoGo Babyz: This little gadget made my life SO much easier transporting his car seat during layovers and to/from the plane. I was able to purchase ours off of craigslist, so keep an eye on there before your trip.

Purchase Here
5. Baby Carrier: I could have strapped Eli in his car seat throughout the air port but he was much happier being in my arms. While holding him (by myself) isn't realistic I used our ergo to carry him and have my hands free for our other stuff. You can go through security with baby strapped to you, so no worries there. We have the ergo brand, but there are many others similar as well. He was able to sleep on me throughout the airport and I had my hands free to eat when I needed to.
He's happy, I swear.  Purchase Here. 
6. Simplify: I had a car seat (attached to wheels), diaper bag and Eli inside the ergo. That's it. Everything I needed was in the diaper bag. I didn't bring an extra bag for myself. Inside our diaper bag for travel we had:
-Diapers: 5-6 total (always plan for extra)
-Extra change of clothes for Eli
-iPad/iPhone: loaded with games, books for me and shows for him (Daniel Tiger and Baby Signing Time)
-Charger: duh.
-My lightweight jacket (Eli wore a thick fleece. As you can see in photo above)
-Three toys he hadn't seen in a while

7. Patience: Overall, traveling is exhausting. No matter how much to simplify it, it's not easy. Throw in a kid and being by yourself...whewwwww mama needs a drink! Be prepared for anything and hope for the best. I did quite a bit of praying and talking to myself (people may have viewed me as crazy). Sympathize with other parents and between flights let your little one run around the air port to burn off energy.

Overall, I learned I have a lot more patience then I though. Eli really did better then expected and I've got the travel bug again! Good thing we are leaving again.


From Atlantic to Pacific.

Arlington National Cemetery
'Gee! The traffic is terrific!'
We've been gone for a month. Now we are in town for a week and gone for another month. Welcome to our life. I must say, traveling to the east coast was a lot of fun. We had the opportunity to experience things we've never had the chance to and literally walking through history. Stories for days folks! Until I have time to sit down a really tell you about it, I'll show you in a few photos. 

Our visit with my good friend Becky and her baby nugget will be posted soon.

Capital Building 

Justice Building

Inside the Capital Building (On our private tour)

White House

Lincoln Memorial

Vietnam Memorial

National Zoo

-I will also do a post on traveling with a toddler.